Helen Pletts is checking out Facebook


He is pinning
tiny rows of coloured heads
– the secretly destroyed butterflies
of his heart.
They face an empty bar stool,
or turn their glances to the wind
– locks of hair separating,
twisting across absent-minded brows.
And when they send him messages
– that the sea is either too warm, or too cold –
he will type three lines
and maybe add a X or two.

* Helen Pletts is a regular IS&T contributor who now lives in the Czech Republic.

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Lanie Rebancos is alone


the other side of the bed
was empty, creased-free
when I woke up again this morning
forgetting you had to leave
that I have to do things by
myself, alone.
it was already ten A.M.
the sun was high but I
can't feel the heat
only the coldness of the nights
I tried to bear, endless nights without you.
I dragged myself from the bed
fix a cup of hot coffee
I looked for your favorite mug
but the usual spot was empty
remembering you took it with you.
I took a cold shower
hoping  the pain will ease a bit
even for awhile
but the splatter of the water on my face
only mingled with my tears.
dripping wet, I opened my wardrobe
and saw only pastel, soft garments
neatly folded
no faded denims, no dark colored shirts.
quietly I dressed up
went downstairs and I say
goodbye out loud
forgetting again
another slap on my face
that there's no one will answer back
I crossed down the street
without looking back
why should I
if I knew that it was just
an empty house.
* Lanie Shanzyra Rebancos is a Filipino published poet and reviewer. She is also the author of three anthologies and a nominee for the 2009 Pushcart Prize. She is now writing her fourth book of poetry and planning to write her first book for children.

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New haibun by Anne Brooke

The secret smell of lemons

The road before us darkens. The shadow of your body next to mine as we walk together. Only the rustle of the leaves. The breeze whispering me to safety might be the sound of your voice. Between us lie all the words we cannot say, although now and then our hands touch and drift apart in the rhythm of our journey.

In your bright hand
the secret smell of lemons,
the taste of fresh spice.

We drink. The walls and people around us are warm. The table is set apart. Somewhere to talk about things that are possible, swallow down like dust things that are not. You tell me of holidays, work colleagues, your new car. I talk of family, church, my unwritten novel. Under the lights, your skin is the moon in autumn framed by window bars.

On your creamy skin
the secret smell of lemons,
the taste of warm spice.

When the lights dim, you laugh, your eyes already shining with home. The bill is paid and the wide road beckons, colder now. Behind us the door shuts. Silence of night rolls over us again. We walk, saying little. At the turn to your flat, you hug me once and quickly, before the pathway folds you up. And I wonder how your tongue will taste.

Under your tongue’s heat
the secret smell of lemons,
the taste of wild spice.

* Anne Brooke still lives in Surrey but suspects she will be asked to leave soon. Whilst in hiding, she can be found at www.annebrooke.com which also includes details of her latest crime novel Maloney's Law.

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New haiga by Alexis Rotella

* Alexis Rotella is a regular contributor to IS&T.

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Barry Basden has been buying old books

Ex-Lib, Otherwise As New

For a penny online, plus postage, I bought a slender book by a former Poet Laureate. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974.

The KC Public Library stamped the book “INV 1984” and, sometime later, “DISCARD.”

The unmarked checkout card still rested in a pocket that warned of charges for overdue books.

Not to worry.

* Barry Basden has lately been writing 55-word microthings, some of which have been published in various ezines. Some have not.

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New haibun by Jeff Winke

Enter a Jet-Black Room

Madness has no schedule. It can be standing at the bus
stop, but the bus either comes or it doesn’t. Madness
may wear a trench coat – tan I think – with epaulets
and that belt that no one knows quite what do with.
But then again, it could be wearing a modest-length
skirt and practical pumps. You just can’t tell.
Madness is a bit of a jokester – more sly fox than an
actual sly fox. You can enter a jet-black room and be
slapping the wall looking for the switch and feel a
whoosh of warm breath in your ear, sending a shiver
down your spine and scaring the bejesus out of you.
That’s madness having some fun. You can wait for
madness to come. Even lay out the Welcome mat, but
like I’ve said, madness has no schedule.

icy wind
blinds closed to a tree limb’s

* Jeffrey Winke is a haiku/haibun poet and public relations counselor. Recent publications include That Smirking Face, a haiku-art broadside collaboration with Matt Cipov (Milwaukee: Distant Thunder Press, 2008) and PR Idea Book: 50 Proven Tools That Really Work (Denver: Outskirts Press, 2006). www.jeffwinke.com

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Colin Cross has no idea


I have no idea
how long it had been
since I'd last seen her
but as I turned the corner
into the lane by my flat
there she was in front of me
attractive and sexy
in little shorts and vest

she exclaimed “hello Colin”
and then talked non stop
about people she knew
and how they were
before asking me
“have you seen mum lately?”

I told her I hadn't
and after asking where I lived
she said she would
come and see me
asking if that would be OK
I said it would be
and contiued on my way

I have no idea
when it was I last saw her
as I have absolutely
no idea who she was

Colin Cross lives in Norwich and is a regular IS&T contributor

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